Effective strategy being pursued to gauge minerals potential in Balochistan

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ISLAMABAD – The government is working on an effective strategy to determine unexplored minerals in Balochistan province, which possesses a variety of valuable ore resources. 

Accordingly, an approval has recently been granted for setting up a new public sector company in the province to accelerate minerals’ exploration activities, besides giving a task to the Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) to map 50 Toposheets of ‘outcrop area’ to identify hidden resources in Balochistan. 

“The new entity titled ‘Balochistan Mineral Exploration Company Limited (BMEC)‘ will be a joint venture of the Federal and Balochistan governments with 10  per cent and 90  per cent shares respectively,” a senior official privy to petroleum sector developments told APP. 

Highlighting the company prospects, he said a part of continental-scale Tethyan Copper Belt was located in Chagai District that had tremendous economic mineral potential as “some promising ore deposits including of copper (along with associated gold and silver), iron, lead and zinc have already been discovered.”

This year, the official said, the federal government had allocated Rs20 million in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP 2020-21) for geological mapping of the 50 Toposheets, out of 354 unmapped Toposheets of Balochistan. The geological maps provide a bird’s eye view of the surface and (subsurface) distribution of various types of rocks and economic minerals that are found in a particular region. Through the mapping, the GSP wanted to maintain a database for future exploration of the occurrences of metallic and non-metallic minerals potential, dimension stones, aggregates and limestone reserves for the industry at a total cost of Rs127.595 million during three years.

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“These maps are essential for all future detailed geological works including, minerals’ exploration, civil engineering, soil surveys, land use, town planning, groundwater, earthquake hazards; environmental geology and soil conservation projects,” the GSP said in the project detail. 

Worldwide experience suggests that geological maps of 1:50,000 scale provide the most useful information and meet the basic requirements of the majority of the demands, involving research in ‘stratigraphy’, structure & tectonics, sample collection for laboratory studies, mineral evaluation and identification of promising areas for further exploration of natural resources. 

The total outcrop area of Balochistan is 335,360 Square Kilometers (524 Toposheets) out of which 108,800 Sq Km. (170 Toposheets) have been mapped and published on 1:50,000 scale and the maps are available.

 

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